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Deathwatch beetle

Deathwatch Beetle Treatment

If you have heard the sound of tapping against wood at least once in your life, you have probably wished for deathwatch beetle treatment.
If you have heard clicking or seen some type of infestation of beetles in your home, you may wonder how to identify these creatures, scientifically known as Xestobium rufovillosum.

Deathwatch Beetle Identification

Following theses steps are the easiest ways to identify deathwatch beetles:

Do you live in an older home?

Many deathwatch beetles live in older homes as they don’t fly and travel very far, so the majority of infestations happen in older homes with damp smells where they have reproduced over and over again over the years.

What about their size? They have small heads and their bodies are long at about 7mm long. They have a mix of a grey/brown color.

Do you hear a continuous clicking at night?

This noise was once a part of a deathwatch beetle myth thought to be a countdown to death and hence the name deathwatch beetle. It’s their way of looking for a mate as they bang their heads against the wood. A bit dramatic, aren’t they?

Are you finding small holes that are about 3mm? This is a strong sign that you have a home full of these creatures. These little holes are usually perfectly round and perfectly done and while there are many different insect that like to bore holes, the deathwatch beetle are quite talented in what they do.

If you don’t have a serious problem or structural damage, you could let it go, but if you notice that they are taking over the structural timber or furniture, you may want to resort to deathwatch beetle treatment.

Deathwatch beetles have been around for many years and got their name during the time of the plague in Britain when they would make a knocking sound that seemed to the fearful British people to be some type of clocking ticking and they related it to the many deaths that were happening at the time.

The deathwatch beetle myth stated that the sound was some type of warning of impending doom. The deathwatch beetle has won its literature due to the coincidence of their tapping with the spread of sickness and death and was made particularly famous with their part in Edgar Alan Poe’s poem called The Tell-Tale Heart.

Indeed, it is incredible how this small insect has had such a big impact on not only homes and old church buildings, but also on poets and their work.

Deathwatch Beetle Life Cycle

The lifespan of the deathwatch beetle differs, but they can live up to around 7 years, including their time developing as larvae, which can take up to 5 years.

Many larvae finish the cycle in a year and go on to explore the damp timber that may be present in your home. Of course, conditions in your home factor in their life span and how long they live. Many deathwatch beetles survive better in damp places.

While individual deathwatch beetles may not live that long, they do a good job at reproducing and while the current ones may leave your home for their heavenly reward soon enough, their offspring will happily take up the torch of making your home their home and your old oak hardwood their food. Even if one doesn’t stick around for too long, there will still be many more to follow.

What do Deathwatch Beetles Eat?

Deathwatch beetles wreak havoc on wood. It’s the grubs that do the major damage with their boring through the hardwood.

The deathwatch beetles may leave evidence of their eating habits by the holes that they make, but sometimes they eat through the inside of the wood and no one is the wiser for it.

If you have a new home, there isn’t much reason to worry about the deathwatch beetle on any account, so if you are a homeowner of a brand new house, you are out of the woods because the deathwatch beetle is most definitely out of your home’s wood.

Where does the Deathwatch Beetle Live?

The deathwatch beetles live in Britain, whether indoors or in outside habitats. Whether it’s due to the abundance of older buildings with old oak or the weather that helps to provide them with damp smells and damp timber, these British insects are happy to call Britain home.

If you live in a new home, you are in luck as the Xestobium rufovillosum only like damp timber and old homes. They wouldn’t be that annoying or even noticeable in your home, if it weren’t for the clicking noise that they make during mating season and when their eating habits start to make a difference in your home’s structure. When this happens, it is time for deathwatch beetle treatment.

The most popular place for a deathwatch beetle to live other than in their outdoor habitat in trees-primarily oak trees is in church buildings. Churches are often in older buildings that have been around for years.

These insects don’t find other countries in Europe quite as tantalizing as Britain, where perhaps the presence of humidity is greater due to consistent rainfall and where they can find damp wood much easier.

If you want to invest in an older home that may be beautiful yet that has been around for years, you may want to first ensure that the home is free from the deathwatch beetle family, as they can wreak havoc on the structure which could end up costing you much more than even the cost of the home.

Deathwatch Beetle Infestation

How do you know when you have a deathwatch beetle infestation and when is it time to call in the professionals? Most of the time, deathwatch beetles will leave plenty of evidence for you to catch on to the fact that you have an infestation.

For example, if you see small holes in your wooden walls, floors, or furniture, then you can be quite sure that this is a deathwatch beetle infestation that should be eliminated.

Another reason to invest in deathwatch beetle treatment is when you continually hear tapping and find that you can’t handle it any longer. Another factor about this noise is that it may be evidence of an abundance of deathwatch beetles.

Deathwatch beetles can wreak havoc on your home’s structure, so while you may be tempted to just try to ignore their presence, an infestation could lead to serious structural damage to your home, which can end up costing you much more than treating your home for these creatures.

Deathwatch Beetle Treatment

How to Get Rid of the Deathwatch Beetle? Now that you understand more about the deathwatch beetle and when you should possibly get rid of them, you may wonder how this should be done and if it is a DIY treatment or if you should call in the professionals.

As with many things having to do with animals and pests in your home, it is usually more effective to call in the experienced beetle removers, but if not, there are things you can try.

To help you make a decision, following are the top ways of doing a deathwatch beetle treatment in your home.

Natural Enemies

One way that you can say goodbye to your guests is to bring in some of the deathwatch beetle’s natural enemies.

The deathwatch beetle will tremble in fear when it comes to spiders (see article: cellar spider infestation). If you have the strength and determination to allow spiders to run free in your home, you can be sure that your infestation will diminish, as spiders are great at keeping the deathwatch beetle in control.

If you think about it, spiders can’t do much damage to your home and the fear of spiders is mainly due to the idea that they will hurt you or even kill you.

To kill the deathwatch beetles in your home, you don’t need the dangerous spiders to do the job. Any regular spider will do and they can be pretty effective in, at least, diminishing the population.

This is one DIY treatment that you can do without spending too much, but it is most definitely not for everyone and there is no guarantee that they will completely eradicate the beetles.

 Organic Pest Control

There are other pest control treatments for deathwatch beetles that don’t involve using spiders in your home.

Not everyone likes to use chemical substances in their home and may appreciate the fact that there are several natural organic alternatives that you can use to kill the deathwatch beetles in your home.

Heat sterilisation is a very popular organic treatment for deathwatch beetles. For people who want to avoid the use of chemicals in their home, deathwatch beetle treatment that uses heat as a way to eradicate the beetles is an effective alternative.

The only thing to consider is that too much heat may cause aesthetic damage to the wood in your home and while the eradication of the pests may seem worth it, losing the beauty of your hardwood may not be.

Another factor about heat sterilisation is that isn’t always effective. Some homes have been caught in fires and these determined creatures have survived, so it may be wise to try something else.

Chemical Pest Control

Chemical pest control is another option for deathwatch beetle treatment. While not everyone appreciates the idea of chemicals in their home, solvent-based chemicals can be effective in ridding your home of these creatures who may be causing damage to your home’s structure.

Gas fumigation is another chemical pest control that has been known to work, but is yet another treatment that requires a costly sum of money and isn’t always effective.

For those who want to use a chemical treatment, one of the most popular ones Boron treatment. While it is a solvent-based chemical, it is known for being one of the safest ones to use in homes and when used with water doesn’t have a very high level of toxins.

Another reason people like to use Boron treatment is because it doesn’t leave a strong smell as gas fumigation might. It also stays in the infested wood for a while which helps it to continue working, even when you are finished with surface spraying.

Many home-owners also like the idea of using this treatment as it is non-flammable and acts as a retardant which is a huge plus for many homeowners who are afraid of using chemical-based deathwatch beetle treatments for fear of their home catching fire.

If you do decide to use the Boron treatment, it is important to reapply it as many times as possible throughout the month, as sometimes it takes more than one try to eradicate your home of deathwatch beetles. Surface spraying of the insecticide may not be enough, so if at all possible, try to get as close as possible to the main hub.

Deathwatch Beetle Treatment – In Conclusion

Deathwatch beetles may sound scary, but they aren’t, as long as they aren’t causing damage to your home’s structure. While you can possibly ignore their presence without any dire results, the best thing to do for the future of your home is to get the infestation checked by professionals to determine the level of potential danger.

Some homes have been known to collapse in certain areas due to too many deathwatch beetles feasting on structural beams. If you have noticed that the wood in your home is damp or you see holes in different areas, then this could very well be indication that it is time for you to get rid of the creatures.

Whether you do a DIY deathwatch beetle treatment using organic pest control or heat sterilisation methods or you call in the professionals for help with chemical sprays, or you do a boron treament yourself, it is important to take care of the problem before it becomes serious.

Whether you notice signs of the deathwatch beetle in your home or you would like to be sure that your home is sound, ask a professional to help you determine the presence of beetles in your home.

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